Continuous Drug Therapy for Wet AMD with Single Procedure

Continuous Drug Therapy for Wet AMD with Single Procedure

Posted under Eye Conditions, Eye Health, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

Retinal implants are becoming available in many different forms, from intraocular lenses and telescopes to drug delivery systems. NeuroTech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. out of Cumberland, Rhode Island specializes in chronic eye diseases and has developed an implant that provides continuous medication to the back of the eye through a one or 5 chamber implanted device.

Encapsulated Cell Therapy (ECT)

Wet macular degeneration is treated through frequent intra-ocular injections that require constant monitoring at home and by the eye specialist.  Besides being uncomfortable, eye injections expose patients to possible side effects such as infections and require monthly or bimonthly visits to the eye doctor.  Investigators of NeuroTech are hoping to change that through a one-time outpatient visit that involves implanting a single or multi-chamber device called Encapsulated Cell Therapy (ECT). ECT is able to deliver anti-VEGF medication to the back of the eye through an implant that continuously produces the protein receptors for at least 2 years.  The 20” surgical procedure involves a 3 mm incision of the sclera and when needed the implant can be removed.

“The NT-503 ECT implant, essentially a reversible gene therapy, represents the future of intraocular drug delivery. To have a therapy that could effectively and continuously treat our AMD patients long- term without the burden of frequent injections is very exciting. It is also advantageous to have the option of removing the implant, if desired.”  states study investigator David Boyer, MD, Senior Partner at Retina-Vitreous Associates Medical Group and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.

Phase 2 Clinical Trial

As of March 2015, the FDA approved NeuroTech’s application to begin a Phase 2 clinical trial for NT-503 Encapsulated Cell Therapy (ECT) for the treatment of choroidal neovascularization – leaking blood vessels – due to wet AMD. This Phase 2 study has begun and will be enrolling 150 patients who will be followed for 2 years. The safety and efficacy of the NT-503 ECT implant will be compared to Eylea injections every 8 weeks in patients who have been treated with at least 3 anti-VEGF injections and still have active disease.

By reducing the need for frequent or multiple eye injections, patients and doctors alike will benefit from this one-time outpatient procedure if it proves to control choroidal neovascularization due to age related macular degeneration.

“This is a significant milestone for our NT-503 ECT program,” commented Quinton Oswald, Chief Executive Officer of Neurotech. “Real-world injection frequencies often do not correlate with optimal treatment recommendations due to the enormous burden of monthly or bi-monthly injections and disease monitoring,” He added. “We are one step closer to being able to give patients and physicians an efficacious, long-term therapy with a single outpatient surgical procedure.”


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN